UPDATED: Christiane Ouimet has a date with Public Accounts

Christiane Ouimet is a much sought-after person. It seems not one, but two House of Commons committees would like to bring the former public sector integrity commissioner before them to testify.

Ouimet abruptly retired last October just before the release of a scathing report by the auditor general into the operations of the commissioner's office. Both Government Operations and Estimates, and the Public Accounts committees have asked her "nicely" to appear. That didn't produce the desired response, and so now both committees are slated to discuss Tuesday whether or not to go the route of formally summoning her.

Ouimet, you'll remember, found not a single case of wrongdoing in her three years as the go-to person for whistleblowers in the federal government. She reported as much in her annual reports to Government Operations, as that is the committee to which her office reports. But Public Accounts is also keen to question her about why the millions spent by her office never led to a case being referred to the independent tribunal created to investigate allegations of government wrongdoing.

But it's unusual for two committees to summon the same person on what is more or less the same issue. So the MPs will have to decide if one committee wants to back off, or if they really can differentiate their "areas of study" enough to warrant the action of summoning her.

Or maybe it will come down to first dibs. Government Ops meets first, from 11 a.m. to 1p.m. and Public Accounts does not convene until 3:30 p.m. But by the end of tomorrow we should know if at least one bailiff will be visiting Ouimet, if not two.

UPDATE: Government Operations has decided not to summon Ms Ouimet. The decision was made in an in-camera meeting of the steering committee, so we are not privy to details as to the rationale. Stay tuned for Public Accounts at 3:30 p.m. to see what the decision, slated to be part of public committee business, is there.

UPDATE, UPDATE: The Public Accounts committee agreed to summons Ouimet to appear before the committee next Tuesday, Feb. 8 - although members conceded that may be short notice.

Backlash grows over usage-based Internet billing

If you've been on Twitter this weekend you've likely seen the tweets urging you to "Stop the Meter," referring to an online campaign by OpenMedia.ca to stop usage-based Internet billing.

Canadians, it seems, have taken notice. In the last week alone, OpenMedia.ca says their petition has grown from 40,000 signatories to 170,000 with more signing on by the minute.

The CBC's Allie Elwell has more on what has so many Internet users upset...

Question of the Day

Evacuation: The lessons of Lebanon

"The safety and security of Canadians is of utmost concern to the Government. Put simply, there is no higher priority. For this reason, extensive efforts were undertaken to meet the urgent needs of all Canadians seeking to flee the deteriorating security situation and return to Canada."

Sound familiar?

Aside from the past verb tense, this could be mistaken for what foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon -- or the prime minister, for that matter -- has been saying to reassure Canadians the government is doing all it can to help its citizens get out of Egypt.

In fact, these words are from former foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay testifying before the standing committee on foreign affairs following the evacuation of 13,000 Canadians from a war-torn Lebanon in the summer of 2006.

MacKay described the operation then as "several times larger in scale and scope" than other recent emergency events, including the 2004 tsunami in South Asia.

Admittedly, the context was different in Lebanon, which was a country at war in the wake of the July 12, 2006, Hezbollah attack on Israel. That country fought back through attacks by air, ground and water.

Still, there are some similarities to the current situation in Egypt - and clues to things worth watching for in coming days.

Information wants to be what, now? - Liveblogging the Open Government debate at Ethics

As noted in OotD, I'll be liveblogging public data freedom fighter David Eaves's efforts to sell the Ethics committee on the wonders of open government this afternoon, so check back at 3:30 pm for full coverage! 

Berry-friendly auto-updating text feed available here or hit the jump for the full CoveritLive experience. 

Orders of the Day - Welcome back, Parliament!

No, really, we've missed you -- although come to think of it, what with both the Liberals and the NDP heading back to the Hill for caucus last week, it's hard not to feel like they never really left. (By the way, did anyone else notice that the Conservatives apparently didn't feel the need to convene one this time around? I think that's the first time since being elected to government that they haven't held a pre-session caucus retreat.) 

Hit the jump for the full post - and the ticker! 

Speed Read: Jan. 31, 2011

ANALYSIS: Been there, heard that environment speech before

Peter Kent says he's tired of his government being accused of having no plan for the environment.

Unfortunately, Kent has left himself open to being accused of that very thing again.

Kent gave his first speech as Environment Minister to the Economic Club in Toronto Friday.

I have followed all the first speeches of the four environment Minister since 2006 and I can tell you I was wondering what he'd say. Would he channel author Ezra Levant and talk about "ethical oil" again... or would he actually give us some details about what he will do as Environment Minister?

He didn't do either.

Meanwhile, in caffeinated-beverage-related political movement news ...

... the seemingly indefatigable Duff Conacher is calling on Canadians with a craving for "good, democratic government" to take part in a cross-country campaign under the banner of the Coffee Party of Canada

Hit the jump for the full post! 

Question of the Day